Re: New to the list
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 17:31:17 -0800 (PST)

Sorry to be so slow in responding. I'll spare you all
the reasons.

On Thu, 21 Nov 1996 wrote:

> Welcome Linda - You note your interest in the challenges to the education
> community and the implications for the the educators in the middle. Could you
> expound on that a bit? What are the implications?

My reference was to the way in which we are caught between
pressures from above and below. From above we have demands
to teach with a "skills" approach. We are expected to tell
students at the beginning of each lecture exactly what they
will be able to DO at the end of the lecture. It is not
OK to say that they will "understand" the material, because
the word "understand" is not a testable result.

We are expected to participate in the increasing use of
technology (and can receive lower evaluations if we
refuse).This technology may temporarily
help our institution hold its own against others in the region,
but it has already put people in the regional centres out of
work. I don't like to contribute to this. Ultimately
the technology will mean that students will spend almost no
time in lectures, but will be working at computers "on their
own" or with the equivalent of 'lab assistants" to help them.
(I read British and German university news, and find that they
are reporting the same phenomena. In England the government
has been more open about these goals.)

On the other hand, our students are also becoming more demand-
ing, partly because of management's claims that make us more
like servants than like teachers. I don't mind having students
who challenge and make me work, but I do object to students who
try to tell me what my field (sociology-criminology) is,
complain if I don't validate the knowledge they think they
have, and complain to management if I'm not in my office,
even if it isn't office hours (at our college, we must all
keep 5 office hours a week. Students also have my phone
number, but it isn't enough.)
At meetings in Vancouver recently, I discovered that many
of my colleagues actually feel physically threatened by some
of their students, and have found no sympathy or help from

So that's roughly what I meant about being caught in the
middle. The implications are clearly bad, I think, for us.
I think the students are being cheated too, although there's
no way of proving this.

Anyway, since this is holiday time, I should finish by saying
that there's no other job that I'd rather do, and I consider
the current conditions to be a challenge rather than a total

Linda D.

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